Dealing with fear comes with the territory when you are a caregiver of a person with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other severe mental illness. Last night, my husband and I were at our church, Vineyard Columbus, listening to Pastor Rich Nathan's teaching on "wrestling with God," As my husband said, Rich's words, in effect, hit him over the head with a two-by-four. And he wasn't the only one.
It's easy to be anxious and scared when dealing every day with a loved one stricken with these awful diseases. I put together this list of 10 ways to deal with anxiety several years ago, after another two-by-four experience during a teaching by Lee Campbell at Xenos. I refer to it often, and I altered Item No. 1 last night.
1. The huge problems in your life are not problems with people. They are problems with your relationship with God. Ask for the gift and grace of enough faith to hand it over and feel peace.
2. Accept the circumstances God allows in your life.
3. Don't think more of yourself than you should.
4. Don't demean people, even when they seem to be making your life miserable.
5. You really can't control anything except yourself. (And even that can be iffy.) Worrying is not a productive activity. Let it go.
6. Take every concern to God specifically.
7. Practice the presence of God in your everyday life.
8. Practice gratitude and thanksgiving. Dwell on your blessings.
9. Focus your thoughts on whatever is true, honorable, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent and worthy of praise, including the people in your life.
10. Have confidence in God and encourage others to feel the same way.